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today's top stories
FAA administrator to give pilots a look ahead at Summit
FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt will talk about the state of general aviation and what pilots can expect in the coming year on Thursday, Nov. 5, at AOPA Aviation Summit in Tampa, Fla. AOPA President Craig Fuller will discuss a range of GA issues with Babbitt and ask the questions you want answered. Babbitt, who was confirmed as FAA administrator on May 21, has worked closely with GA associations on various issues, including recommendations for new procedures in the Hudson River Class B exclusion zone. He also has said that he plans to meet with the TSA administrator (once one is confirmed) to discuss pilots’ concerns about security measures. Read more >>
GA Serves America helps spur initiative to create jobs
AOPA’s GA Serves America campaign, which is based on real pilots’ stories of how they use aviation to serve their communities, is turning heads. Leaders of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce took note and collaborated with AOPA President Craig Fuller, who is a member of the U.S. Chamber Board of Directors, to develop “American Free Enterprise. Dream Big.” The initiative seeks to create 20 million jobs in 10 years and highlights Americans’ success stories. “All year I have spoken about the importance of collaboration. In all cases, the collaboration has been with others in the aviation community. In this instance, we reached beyond our community to one that can do great good,” Fuller said. Read more >>
Five years since the birth of the sport pilot certificate and the light sport aircraft (LSA) industry some basic trends and truths are emerging, although overall it hasn’t grown as quickly as hoped. Dan Johnson, chairman of the board and president of the Light Sport Manufacturers Association, noted that not as many pilots as hoped have been awarded the sport pilot certificate. The number of LSAs sold each year is well below expectations. So if LSAs are entering the aircraft registration list at about half the rate as originally hoped, why are there more than 100 LSA models from which to choose? And what happened to the industry shakeout, rumored since the LSA industry began, that was supposed to have reduced LSA manufacturers to a half-dozen companies? Read more >>
AOPA responded to the FAA this week regarding its proposed rulemaking to improve safety in the Hudson River Class B exclusion zone. The association told the FAA that the rulemaking, together with other changes, effectively addresses safety concerns while considering the needs of airspace users. The FAA had established a working group to develop recommendations to enhance the safety of the airspace after the tragic midair collision over New York’s Hudson River in August. Read more >>
September business flying shows rise
The Cincinnati-based consultancy Aviation Research Group/US (ARGUS) reports that business aircraft activity in September 2009 was at its highest level since a year ago. ARGUS tracks serial-number-specific IFR arrivals and departures in the contiguous United States, breaking them down to activity within Part 91, Part 135, and fractional categories. The September 2009 rise in activity isn’t much—0.4 percent compared to September 2008—but it’s up 2.7 percent from August 2009. Read more >>
Eclipse gets type certificates, calls suppliers to meeting
Eclipse Aerospace, the company that bought the assets of Eclipse Aviation out of bankruptcy, has received the FAA and EASA (in Europe) type certificates. It is an administrative move that allows shipment of parts. It doesn’t mean production will restart. In fact, a decision on whether to restart is at least a year off. Read more >>
FAA finalizes changes to ‘51-percent rule’
Amateur builders should be happy with the FAA’s revisions to the amateur-built aircraft certification policy, or 51-percent rule. One of the controversial proposed changes which would have required builders to perform “20 percent of the assembly and 20 percent of the fabrication of the aircraft, with the remaining 11 percent falling into either category at the builder’s discretion,” was excluded from the final order. Currently, builders must complete the majority (51 percent) of the total work. Read more >>
New executives added to Piper Aircraft
Three new executives are joining Piper Aircraft as it expands operations into Asia. W. David Wilson takes the financial reins immediately as chief financial officer. John Borghetti, a former 36-year executive with Qantas Airways, and Michael Kolowich, a recognized pioneer and innovator, are Piper’s two new additions to the five-person board of directors. Read more >>
Future of J-1 visa training program up in air
As the Dec. 31 transition of the J-1 visa program from the State Department to the Department of Homeland Security nears, AOPA, the Helicopter Association International, the National Air Transportation Association, and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association have teamed to prevent the program from being terminated. Currently, the fate of the J-1 visa program is uncertain because DHS has not decided whether to continue the program. The J-1 visa program allows foreign flight students to complete their professional training and then work as a flight instructor to build hours. Read more >>
Fire-breathing ‘Supervan’ debuts
Texas Turbine Conversions Inc. has begun delivering the first of its Cessna Caravan engine mods, and it’s a doozy. For $495,000, the owner of a model 208 or 208B (Grand Caravan) can exchange his or her stock, 675-shp Pratt & Whitney PT6A-114A turboprop engine for a 900-shp Honeywell TPE-331-12JR powerplant. Texas Turbines calls this mod the Supervan 900, and it comes with new engine mounts, a new cowling, new starter-generator, and a new Hartzell 110-inch diameter, four-blade propeller. Read more >>
Students soar into Naval future
Before they embrace the roar of a jet engine or helicopter, 150 Naval Academy midshipmen had a chance this summer to get a feel for the controls in the whisper of engineless flight. The U.S. Naval Academy's Summer Training Soaring Program began this year as a way to introduce interested midshipmen at the school to flying before they commit to a Naval career path. The students had a chance to practice stick-and-rudder skills without the costly turn of the Hobbs meter and to learn the principles of flight before heading to Pensacola, Fla., for intensive training. Read more >>
Honeywell HTAWS first to receive FAA approval
Phoenix-based Honeywell Aerospace announced that its latest Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (EGPWS) for helicopters has received technical design and production approval from the FAA. The FAA recently released certification standards for Helicopter Terrain Awareness and Warning Systems (HTAWS) and Honeywell’s Mark XXI and XXII Helicopter EGPWS are the first to receive approval that meets the new standard from the FAA. Read more >>
Earhart goggles sold at auction
Goggles worn by Amelia Earhart during her 1932 solo trans-Atlantic flight brought $141,600 at an auction of historic and Hollywood memorabilia that took place Oct. 8 and 9. The goggles were part of a collection of items auctioned off by Profiles in History of Calabasas Hills, Calif. They came with two letters of authenticity: one signed by Earhart herself, and one signed by her mother. Read more >>
China issues aviation stamps
The People’s Republic of China has issued a series of postage stamps that spotlight general aviation and feature Cessna, Cirrus, Diamond, and Flight Design CTLS aircraft. The stamps promote the China International General Aviation Convention. Read more >>
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
ga serves america
Aviation facilitates dental care—and cultural insight
William Lowe had retired from a three-decade dental career, including 22 years at Department of Veterans Affairs health centers across the country. But shortly after moving to Michigan in 2006, Lowe received a note seeking dentists to work at a clinic in Cashton, Wis. Lowe signed on, and through August 2008 he practiced dentistry again—this time, at a federally qualified health center, one of hundreds of community-based sites that offer primary and preventive care regardless of a patient’s ability to pay. His Mooney M-20E served Lowe well, flying him back home every few weekends. Read more >>
Seven die in six-seat Baron accident
A mechanical problem that doesn't ground the aircraft may still be reason to consider a change of plans—especially when contributing factors start to add up. A pressurized Beech Baron took off from Keene, N.H., on Sept. 2, 2002, with the landing gear stuck extended and seven on board the six-seat aircraft. When a cylinder in the right engine failed, the airplane crashed shortly after departure, killing all seven on board. Read more in this special report from the AOPA Air Safety Foundation.
Whether they're uphill, downwind, overweight, or underskilled, takeoffs go wrong more often than you might think. On average, pilot errors cause general aviation takeoff accidents almost every other day, and about one-sixth of these prove fatal—a much higher share than for landing accidents. Causes span the range of piloting errors: poor planning, bad judgment, configuration errors, or lack of proficiency. See exactly where these accidents have happened with the new interactive map from the AOPA Air Safety Foundation. The Google-based map plots accident locations, displays summaries of the crashes, and provides links to additional resources. Filters allow you to select the specific time frame and make/model of aircraft involved.
Answers for Pilots: Flying to Mexico
When the weather cools down over much of the United States, AOPA starts to receive more questions about flying to Mexico. Many pilots are confused about the complexities of border-crossing procedures—and questions about eAPIS (Electronic Advance Passenger Information System) continue. If you’re planning a flight south of the border, check out this list of helpful tips.
Join the Airport Support Network today
Ensuring the health and vitality of your airport is up to you—incompatible development and economic and political pressures can restrict your flying. Every day, more than 2,000 Airport Support Network (ASN) volunteers work with AOPA headquarters to help save their airports, but we need more. Below is a link to a list of the airports where an ASN volunteer could make a difference.
To nominate yourself or an associate to be a volunteer, visit AOPA Online.
To learn more about the Airport Support Network, visit ASN Online.
PEAK EXPERIENCE: AOPA AVIATION SUMMIT
Montel Williams promotes healthy living at Summit
Talk show host Montel Williams has long been an aviation enthusiast, but his vision prevented him from becoming a pilot while at the U.S. Naval Academy. His passion for aviation is one of the reasons Williams will take part in AOPA Aviation Summit, Nov. 5 through 7 in Tampa, Fla. The other is to promote healthy living—something that is important to pilots who must make regular visits to the aviation medical examiner in order to keep their medical certificate. Read more >>
Recording artist, private pilot John Oates to perform
Recording artist John Oates, a private pilot, will present a live concert at AOPA Aviation Summit. Oates started flying in 1985. Touring as part of the band Hall and Oates, Oates often sat in the jump seat of the charter aircraft the band flew and, he says, “stuck my nose in the cockpit and asked questions.” His first flight training was in a friend’s Cessna 172. “I flew left-seat and at the end of the flight I said, ‘Sign me up.’” Read more >>
Bahamas or bust
Enjoy a week’s vacation flying, shopping, dining, and relaxing at the Bahamas Islands after AOPA Aviation Summit! In coordination with Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation, AOPA worked with Air Journey and Caribbean Sky Tours to offer two fly-outs for members: Bahamas Treasure Hunt and Re-discover the Bahamas, respectively. The fly-outs leave Tampa, Fla., on Sunday, Nov. 8, the day after Summit ends. With 700 islands in the Bahamas, you’ll want to catch them all from the air! Sign up today!
Calling all doctors
If you’re a physician and a pilot, plan to attend AOPA Aviation Summit. Take in all Summit has to offer for pilots—safety seminars, the latest gadgets and gear, and the newest aircraft in the industry—and earn continuing medical education credits. Continuing medical education courses sponsored by the Flying Physicians Association will be open to all physician attendees on Thursday, Nov. 5, and Saturday, Nov. 7. Topics are “Urinary Urgency,” “Simulators in Medicine,” “Mitochondrial Genome, the Key to Aging?," “Back and Neck Pain Management in Aviators,” “Prostate Cancer,” “Common Drug Reactions: From Lime-Spiked Drinks to Life-Threatening Reactions,” “Colon Cancer Screening,” and “Radiosurgery Update: Radiosurgery in the Treatment of Brain Tumors and Brain Vascular Malformations.”
AOPA Aviation Summit Planning:
AOPA Now: New message on user fees—they’ll be dead on arrival
There is a remarkable new development occurring around the anticipated aviation user fee promised by the Obama administration in next year’s budget proposal. Read more >>
Air Safety eJournal: Obligatory frost reminder
During the winter months, pilots must account for strong winds, snow, ice, and frost. AOPA Air Safety Foundation President Bruce Landsberg reminds pilots that “frost or otherwise contaminated wings do not work well and can be quite unpredictable.” Read more >>
Hover Power: Added pressure
Inadvertent IMC accidents are a problem for helicopter EMS operations. Unfortunately, when the weather is bad sometimes the pressure to accept a flight can rise. On the night of Jan. 10, 2003, an air medical helicopter pilot elected to abort his flight because of deteriorating weather. Another pilot took the mission, stating that he was going to try to get over the fog. Read more >>
Give to the AOPA Foundation and get a free calendar
The AOPA Foundation calendar fundraising effort is a great way to help support general aviation and the association's free aviation safety programs and other initiatives. Anyone wishing to receive the AOPA Foundation calendar may do so by becoming a donor with a gift of $10 or more. For more information, call 800/USA-AOPA or go online.
AOPA retires eDirectory for PC, Palm OS
On Oct. 22, AOPA will retire its Airport eDirectory application for PC and Palm operating systems. Discontinuation of the Airport eDirectory will not affect AOPA’s Airport Directory Online or any of the AOPA Airports mobile applications. The eDirectory, which debuted in 2001, is limited to serving older versions of Microsoft Windows and Palm operating systems. The decision to discontinue the eDirectory followed an examination of member usage over the last two years. The ongoing maintenance costs were disproportionate to the Airport eDirectory’s declining user base. AOPA will continue to develop its flight planning products, which include AOPA’s Airport Directory Online, AOPA Internet Flight Planner (AIFP), and aviation weather.
Wish you had a better understanding of the regulations when talking to your mechanic or the avionics shop? Aircraft Electronics Association Vice President of Government/Industry Affairs Ric Peri answers your frequently asked questions.
Question: How can you install an antenna without the alteration to the fuselage being considered a major alteration?
Answer: The answer to this question actually dates back to 1958 and the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA). In the 1958 printing of the Civil Aeronautics Manual 18 (CAM 18), the CAA published an interpretation of major alterations, which included the root of the language that was transferred into the FARs in 1964. In this document, the CAA states the criteria for an airframe major alteration include “Major changes to the basic design or external configuration of any structural component such as: … fuselage ….” Read more >>Submit your own question via e-mail.
Here's a question asked by an AOPA member who contacted our aviation services staff through the AOPA Pilot Information Center. Test your knowledge.
Question: My 1980 Cessna Skyhawk is in need of a paint job. I got an estimate from the paint shop, but they say I must have 12-inch tail numbers after it’s painted. I want to continue to display two-inch numbers. Why is this a problem?
Answer: Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) 45.29 states that an aircraft displaying marks at least two inches high before Nov. 1, 1981, and an aircraft manufactured after Nov. 2, 1981, but before Jan. 1, 1983, may display those marks until the aircraft is repainted or the marks are repainted, restored, or changed. However, there is an exception in FAR 45.22b for aircraft that were built more than 30 years ago that allows them to display the two-inch numbers, so if you were to wait another year to have your aircraft repainted, it would meet this exception. Read more about N numbers in AOPA’s subject report.
Got a question for our aviation services staff? The AOPA Pilot Information Center is a service available to all members as part of the annual dues. Call 800/872-2672, or e-mail to [email protected]. Send comments on our Quiz Me! questions to [email protected].
Clear and compelling
The logic behind L-3 Communications’ Trilogy electronic standby instrument is clear and compelling. When a glass-panel aircraft’s primary flight display (PFD) goes dark, the Trilogy provides pilots with an all-in-one backup instrument that looks and acts like a mini-PFD. It doesn’t require pilots to make the mental leap from digital displays to analog, electro-mechanical “steam gauges” at an anxiety-producing moment, or call on pilots to instantly revive out-of-practice instrument scans that require reading and interpreting three gauges (airspeed indicator, attitude indicator, and altimeter) at once. Read more >>
AOPA’s online photo gallery allows you to upload your own aviation photography as well as view, rate, and comment on others' photos. Your favorite aviation images from AOPA Pilot are still available online through this new gallery. Take a look, and submit your own photos!
Aviation Events & Weather
Want something to do this weekend? Planning an aviation getaway? See your personalized online calendar of events . We've enhanced our calendar so that with one click, you can see all of the events listed in the calendar regions you selected when personalizing ePilot. Now you can browse events listed two weeks to a few months out to make your planning easier. You can also bookmark the personalized calendar page to check it as often as you want. Before you take off on an adventure, make sure you check our current aviation weather provided by Jeppesen.
Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics
The next AOPA Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics are scheduled in Columbia, S.C., Oct. 17 and 18; Windsor, Conn., Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Indianapolis, Ind., Oct. 24 and 25; San Diego, Calif., Atlanta, Ga., and Austin, Texas, Nov. 14 and 15; Anchorage, Alaska, Albuquerque, N.M., and Reston, Va., Nov. 21 and 22. For a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.
Can't make it in person? Sign up for the CFI Refresher Online.
AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safety Seminars
AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safety Seminars are scheduled in Fairbanks, Alaska, Oct. 16 and 17; Eugene, Ore., Oct. 19; Portland, Ore., Oct. 20; Seattle, Wash., Oct. 21; Palmdale, Calif., Oct. 26; San Luis Obispo, Calif., and Lynchburg, Va., Oct. 27; Fresno, Calif., Oct. 28; and Concord, Calif., Oct. 29. Topics vary—for details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.
Got news? Contact ePilot. Having difficulty using this service? Visit the ePilot Frequently Asked Questions now at AOPA Online or write to [email protected].
Editorial Team : ePilot Editor: Sarah Brown